{review} Sidelined by Chuck Pagano

Dear Coach Pagano,

I just finished reading your book, Sidelined: Overcoming Odds with Unity, Passion and Perseverance. It's an enjoyable, easy-to-get-lost-in kinda book. Congratulations to you and Bruce A. Tollner on a job well done.

First of all let me say that I'm the wife to a huge Colts fan. When we got back into football several years ago, we were drawn to the Colts after admiring how Tony Dungy walked through a terrible tragedy with grace and faith. Then we started to learn a bit more about Jim Irsay and the team. From there we were fans. When you say in the book that the focus of the Colts organization is threefold - Faith, Family, Football, in that order - you really mean it. And that's why we love the Colts.

I know this book is about how you beat cancer and how the team persevered through a very difficult season. I know the CHUCKSTRONG movement is doing incredible things to raise money for Leukemia research. I know the Colts organization is more than just you.

But this is the thing that struck me throughout Sidelined ... There are lots of people that need to hear your message, Coach Pagano. You talk about grit, determination, gratitude, loyalty and faith. Even in the toughest of circumstances, your words are laced with a peace that only comes from believing there is a life beyond your trial.

This book isn't just about beating cancer and making the playoffs. It's about how we choose to face every day trials. It doesn't matter what they are really. Our outlook is what will make the difference between success and failure.

The qualities that the Colts organization expects from its players are ones that we could use a lot more of in our every day lives. We need to remember that simple things like trust, loyalty and respect can get you a lot farther than selfishness and deceit, no matter what the world is demonstrating.

Coach Pagano, you make it clear that the most important thing is not winning or being the best but the attitude you have.  You talk about serving others. Being a servant. Being selfless and always looking to promote others rather than yourself. That's not a message you hear that often. We need more people like you, Coach.

The greatest quote from the book is "Circumstances never determine who we are; they reveal who we are." That is so, so true. Bad times bring out the worst in people, right? It shouldn't be that way. Hard times should reveal our character to be strong and faithful. As you describe the outpouring of emotion and even questions of why me?, it's done from a character of faith that answers with trust that God has a plan. You're not preachy or super spiritual in Sidelined. You just honestly, transparently share your experiences. Do you reveal your deep faith in God and your belief that He has a plan, even in the most trying of times? Yes. But it's the kind of faith that makes you want some of it, not the kind of faith that makes you feel inferior.

Thank you Coach Pagano. This is a book that needs to be read by millions. It's not just about football. It's about a man, simply sharing his experiences and the character that makes him a great man. We need more people like you, Coach. People that can handle the hardest of times with determination and faith, loyalty and trust. I want to be CHUCKSTRONG, no matter what challenges come my way. Thank you for writing your story.


{Sidelined is available from Zondervan for $24.99. I received a copy of Sidelined in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and a good review was not guaranteed.}